Awaiting the Saviour

This little gem of Greek Revival architecture looks as though Scotland should be its natural habitat. In fact the building can be found in central North Dublin on Sean McDermott (formerly Lower Gloucester Street) and was originally built as a Presbyterian church. The architect responsible, Duncan C Ferguson, is thought to have been of Scottish origin, which would explain the choice of style since its date of construction – 1846 – is rather late for Greek Revival. The granite façade features a tetrastyle pedimented portico with four fluted Doric columns below a frieze with Greek lettering. On either side are single-storey wings with tapered square-headed doors (see below). The church does not appear to have served its original purpose for long and by 1900 had been converted into a flour store. Thereafter it underwent further changes of use before being left to dereliction and once the interior was gutted by fire (seemingly in the 1980s) all but the façade was demolished. About ten years ago another structure devoid of architectural interest was erected to the rear. Since then the remains of Ferguson’s work have languished in an area where few instances of good design can be found; somehow it has survived and still awaits a saviour.



16 comments on “Awaiting the Saviour

  1. Erica Devine says:

    A terrific facade – so much in this area that requires a champion – Dreshler? Bridge at end of Sean McDermott st. corroding – should be painted bright red! Could be an eye-catching feature in very modern area. Would Crown paints sponsor?

  2. Thom Hickey says:

    Thanks for this and for so many highly informative and fascinating posts this year. Regards and best wishes for 2015 Thom.

  3. Aidan O Boyle says:

    I having been saying for years that this should be dismantled and re-erected as a folly in Mountjoy Square or perhaps,better still,overlooking the lake in St Stephens Green.

    • Dear Aidan,
      Thank you for your comment. While your proposal is sound in many ways, moving what remains of this building to a more congenial site would only confirm the impression that this part of the city is beyond redemption. Surely what’s needed is a concerted effort to lift everything in the vicinity to the same architectural standard rather than swoop in to ‘rescue’ the only decent remaining façade on the street? But perhaps this is idealistic and your proposal realistic…

  4. Peter o donovan says:

    It is sad to see the State of the area, especially considering the proximity of Aldborough House to Sean McDermott Street. It seems the area lost out in the Act of Union. Would you know the meaning of the Greek phrase.

    • Thank you for getting in touch. Yes, it is sad to see the state of this part of Dublin, which could be so much better with a little intelligent and sympathetic planning. I am afraid I only learnt a little Greek when young and have long-since forgotten it so cannot help you with the inscription, my apologies.

  5. Kate Sullivan says:

    An ancestor of mine was married in a church in Lr Gloucester st.He was R.C could this be the Church as only the street is named in the civil register?Thank you.I found your site very interesting.I love the old Churches/Chapels in Dublin.Kate.

    • Thank you for getting in touch. I can’t tell you whether this was the church in which one of your forebears was married – was the person in question Presbyterian? If so, it might be worth while getting in touch with that denomination in Ireland to see whether its records have any information relevant to your enquiry.

      • Kate Sullivan says:

        thank you for your reply.Could I be cheeky and ask who you are?,as you have such an interesting web site and terrific information. kind regards Kaye.

  6. Please look at the ‘About’ section of this site, and it will give you (I hope) all the information you require…

  7. Debra says:

    What does the Greek inscription mean

  8. Noel Kirby says:

    Only I God …? I have fond memories of walking down Sean McDermott Street to view this fabulous portico in the late 1970s.

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